Thursday, March 31, 2005

 

SAEN Watch Needs Your Help!

SAEN Watch has decided that we have outgrown Blogger so we want to ask our readers for their opinions about various other blog hosts. We are particularly interested in any feedback about Typepad. We have been losing too many posts, and too many comments with Blogger so it is time to move on to something bigger and better. As many of you know, Blogger is a free service, and it is worth every penny. Anyway, any input you can give us would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Commando
 

A Nation's Shame

Yahoo! News is reporting that Terri Schiavo has died.

Final Thoughts: I hope those supporting Michael Schiavo were right, 100% right, about the "euphoric" nature of Terri's slow death, but somehow I doubt it. But they won't be the ones have trouble sleeping tonight. They have told themselves so many times that she wouldn’t suffer that they probably believe it by now. Those of who supported Terri, meanwhile, will toss and turn tonight; I know I will. Let me congratulate the “pull the tube” folks, you won, you succeeded in killing a woman who could not protect herself. Hold your heads high! Finally, let me congratulate everyone in America, your lives are worth a little less today than they were yesterday.

Disclaimer: These are the thoughts of the Commando, and although I imagine Mark agrees with me, I don’t want to put words in his mouth on something like this.
 

Spinning Good News In To Bad

Okay Bob, we get the point--you think, in face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that Iraq is a mess, but you should not allow that to color your reporting. You are in the fair and balanced business after all. What has me so angry? An article in today's "newspaper" reporting that terrorist attacks against U.S. Troops are decreasing:
Insurgent attacks in Iraq have fallen dramatically since the Jan. 30 elections, and the number of U.S. deaths reported this month dropped to the lowest in a year.

So far so good. We have a story about attacks against our troops decreasing and the first paragraph proudly states that fact, and rightly so. But don't get your hopes up because this is the second paragraph:
But the news isn't all good. Militants are focusing their attacks on Iraqi government and security officials as the new leaders of Iraq assume a greater role in their fragile nation.

Okay, so what happened to the story about insurgent attacks against U.S. troops declining? This is just another sign that Bob Rivard & Co. refuse to allow their readers an unbiased look at events in Iraq. Now for some good news:
Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, which has been tracking the insurgency, said attacks against U.S. forces have dropped by at least 25 percent since last fall, when U.S. officials launched a major offensive against the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah. Attacks then ranged from 80 to 90 a day, O'Hanlon said.

But wait, the SAEN isn't finished with the bad news:
Still, insurgents haven't forgotten the Americans. On Saturday, two U.S. soldiers were killed and two others were wounded by a car bomb in Baghdad.

Lucky for you, SAEN Watch is loathe to end on a sour note, so how about some great news:
The change was apparent after the elections, with the number of U.S. soldiers killed dropping from 58 in February to 30 in March — the lowest monthly death toll since 20 American soldiers were killed in February 2004, according to an Associated Press count.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance Smith said U.S. forces could begin coming home in significant numbers if insurgent violence is low through general elections scheduled for the end of the year.

That's right General, bring them all home, and soon. The SAEN is behind the curve on Iraq; they just cannot bring themselves to admit that it is becoming a success story.

Update:

Some of our readers aren't getting the point I am trying to make here. So, thanks to Mark, we have a comparison of the SAEN's article on page 11A today, and the AP story I linked to above. Bold sentences are not included by the SAEN in today's story. So the he question is, why did the SAEN edit the story the way it did, if not to spin good news into bad:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgent attacks in Iraq have fallen dramatically since the Jan. 30 elections, and the number of U.S. deaths reported this month dropped to the lowest in a year.

But the news isn't all good. Militants are focusing their attacks on Iraqi government and security officials as the new leaders of Iraq assume a greater role in their fragile nation.

Both U.S. and Iraqi officials agree that attacks overall have fallen since the Jan. 30 elections, although it is unclear if the trend is just a temporary lull as militants change tactics, or a sign that the insurgency is weakening.

Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, which has been tracking the insurgency, said attacks against U.S. forces have dropped by at least 25 percent since last fall, when U.S. officials launched a major offensive against the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah. Attacks then ranged from 80 to 90 a day, O'Hanlon said.
However, attacks still haven't fallen below the level of a year ago — between 10 to 20 a day, according to a Defense Department document dated July 2004.
U.S. defense officials say they were down to 40 to 45 a day in recent weeks, lower than the pre-election average of 50 to 60 a day.

The change was apparent after the elections, with the number of U.S. soldiers killed dropping from 58 in February to 30 in March — the lowest monthly death toll since 20 American soldiers were killed in February 2004, according to an Associated Press count.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance Smith said U.S. forces could begin coming home in significant numbers if insurgent violence is low through general elections scheduled for the end of the year.

A larger and more capable insurgency, setbacks in the efforts to develop Iraq security forces, or missed deadlines by the transitional government could delay any significant drawdown, said Smith, the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command.

As reports of car bombings and ambushes noticeably dwindle, another trend has been seen as more Iraqi police and soldiers are put out on the street.

Attackers are targeting Iraqi officials seen as traitors for working with — and eventually replacing — the U.S.-led coalition, Army Capt. Salman Abdul Wahid said, adding that many attacks in March were against Iraqi forces.

"The Iraqi army and police are easy targets for terrorists," he said. "They lack the modern equipment of the Americans."
There are also more of them on the streets every day. Ali al-Faisal, a member of the Shiite clergy-backed United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of lawmakers leading the new parliament, said the change was because Iraqi police are taking the lead in fighting the insurgency.

"In the past, they were targeting the American forces because they were in charge of security," he said. "After the new Iraqi army and police were established — and succeeded in maintaining security and began annihilating (the insurgents) — they shifted their attacks."

Still, insurgents haven't forgotten the Americans. On Saturday, two U.S. soldiers were killed and two others were wounded by a car bomb in Baghdad.

The developments are being closely watched, as U.S. and Iraqi officials try to determine when the U.S. government will withdraw from the country.

On Monday, interim Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib outlined progress by the growing number of security forces and said attacks were not only decreasing, but claiming fewer victims. He credited the growing role of Iraqi forces, saying it was easier for them to gather intelligence on insurgents than it was for U.S. troops.

Encouraged by the Jan. 30 elections and a state-run television station that broadcasts the confessions of alleged insurgents, Iraqis have also begun turning in information on suspicious activities or people, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.

O'Hanlon said the relative optimism has hurt insurgent recruitment and turned public opinion against the militants.

"There's just more and more a sense that the insurgents are attacking Iraqis and Iraq itself," he said.

If the insurgents continue to focus attacks on Iraqi officials, O'Hanlon said, the conflict "could become more of a civil war."

Al-Naqib said the situation has improved so much that some cities will see foreign troops pulling out soon.

"If the same pace of the last six or seven months continues, then God willing, during the coming 18 months we will be able to preserve security inside Iraq," he said.

Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division based in Baghdad, said soldiers are noticing an improvement on the streets, as "Iraqi police and security units are standing up and becoming more effective."

"It's uplifting," he said.

Abdul Hamid al-Ghanami, a 35-year-old engineer in Baghdad, said he has felt safer.

"I did feel like I was staring down death each time I left my house," he said. "In terms of security, there is now a kind of comfortable feeling of victory, and we feel like terrorism has been isolated to far pockets, outside of the cities."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

 

SAEN Editorial Board On Schiavo Case

The SAEN editorial board doesn't even try to hide it's liberalism in today's lead editorial about the Schiavo case. They hold a particular disdain for those who tried to keep her alive:
It is a tragedy compounded by the arrogance of those who think they should have a greater say in the case than her own husband, even though his wishes to allow Schiavo to die were upheld by court after court.

But should Michael Schiavo still be allowed to act in his wife's interest? As columnist Jonathan Gurwitz points out today, Michael Schiavo is hardly the loving husband the SAEN is making him out to be:
Bigamy is illegal in Florida, as in the other 49 states. If Michael Schiavo's common-law wife, with whom he has two children, were last week to have fallen into a coma, he could legally have been empowered as the spousal guardian of two women simultaneously. Just a thought for the law-is-always-right crowd.

Michael Schiavo has the legal right to make a life-and-death determination for Terri. There is ample reason to question whether he should make that decision.

The editorial goes on to categorize Congressional action regarding Terri as an "intrusion":
The danger of federal intrusion into these matters is that, once again, officials will politicize the tragedy, forgetting the human beings behind the symbols.

Arrogant, huh? So I guess all us Christians who want Terri to live because we feel that life is a gift from our Creator are nothing more than "arrogant." I could be wrong, but it sounds like the SAEN editorial board dislikes Christians. In addition, they fail to tell you that Congress was well within the enumerated powers granted it by the constitution to act on Terri's behalf, as I mentioned in an earlier post:
The judicial Power of the Unites States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

Finally, the editorial also does not mention that Congress was asked by Terri's parents to intervene in what they saw as judicial malfeasance. In the end though, the editorial board is going to get what it wants; Terri is going to die. She is going to die even though there is no proof she wants to die, even though her husband is living with another women with whom he has two children, and even though her parents have agreed to take on the responsibility for her care.

Update: In response to several reader e-mails, let me set the record straight. No, I do not think the SAEN is anti-Christian, but I do believe their choice of words was unfortunate.
 

Stupid Headlines

It's time for the latest installment of "Stupid Headlines!" First, the headline for a front page story about a case before the Supreme Court involving the internet:
"High court gets into sticky Web subjects"

Next, from a story on page 9A of today's SAEN about animal cruelty:
"Animal cruelty bill kept on a leash"

Third, a story also on page 9A about water bills in the Texas leg:
"11 more water bills floated"

Finally, on page 16A of today's "newspaper" the headline for a story about the coming arrival of Texas wildflowers:
"South Texas, get ready to go wild about flowers"

Ahhhh, make it stop!
 
I apologize for the lack of blogging today, but I have just been too busy.

--Commando

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

 

Diversity Lacking In Our Colleges

An article in today’s Washington Post reports that liberals are an even larger majority on our college campuses than previously thought:
By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.

Not surprisingly, considering the percentages above, most professors aren’t too concerned with religion:
Religious services take a back seat for many faculty members, with 51 percent saying they rarely or never attend church or synagogue and 31 percent calling themselves regular churchgoers. On the gender front, 72 percent of the full-time faculty are male and 28 percent female.

Clearly, college professors are far out of the American mainstream:
In contrast with the finding that nearly three-quarters of college faculty are liberal, a Harris Poll of the general public last year found that 33 percent describe themselves as conservative and 18 percent as liberal.

The study also gave results about specific hot-button issues, and again the results were skewed way to the left:
The liberal label that a majority of the faculty members attached to themselves is reflected on a variety of issues. The professors and instructors surveyed are, strongly or somewhat, in favor of abortion rights (84 percent); believe homosexuality is acceptable (67 percent); and want more environmental protection "even if it raises prices or costs jobs" (88 percent). What's more, the study found, 65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the Democratic Party.

Amazing; the people teaching our children want the government to ensure full employment. There is a term for that: socialism.
 

Pic Of The Day: Iraq


Senior Airman Kristy Barrett with Multi National Forces - Iraq /C-1 Awards, plays with girl from the French/Airport Village school, Iraq, while waiting for school supplies and 3 computers that were donated by private organizations from the United States, on March 22, 2005. I really wish the SAEN would once, just once, show pictures of hope from Iraq, instead of the usual death and destruction they prefer to show their readers. Posted by Hello
 

Hallelujah, Selena Is Risen!

As I pointed out Sunday, the SAEN didn't even acknowledge that it was Easter, and now Art and Loretta Bedford make another excellent point about Sunday's SAEN in a letter to the editor:
Who exactly is risen?

How irreverent! We returned home from Easter sunrise service, picked up our Express-News and were hit by the front-page headline "Selena lives on." Was that really the Good News on the first day of the liturgical year? He is risen, and Selena lives on. Wow!

I made this same comment Sunday morning to Mrs. Commando and she said I was overreacting, but I guess I wasn't the only one thinking that the SAEN's choice of words for the Selena article was unfortunate to say the least. Selena worship over at the SAEN really has gotten out of control hasn't it?
 

Update: Rivard's Sunday Column

For more local reaction to Bob Rivard's insane column Easter Sunday check out this post at Dead Can't Rant blog. You can read the original SAEN Watch posting here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

 

SAEN Compares DeLay & Schiavo

On Monday's front page the SAEN reprints a story from the Los Angeles Times that compares the experience of Tom DeLay's father to that of Terri Schiavo. Unfortunately for the SAEN, anybody who reads the story will quickly realize that the two cases are not similar at all, and the article can be seen for what it is: a hit piece on the SAEN's favorite whipping boy. So who is using Terri Schiavo for partisan gain now?

Michelle Malkin explains the differences between the Schiavo case and the DeLay case:
The DeLay and Schiavo cases are worlds apart, for heaven's sake, and it is patently unfair to compare the two. DeLay's father's had suffered broken ribs and a brain hemorrhage; he needed a tracheotomy and ventilator to assist his breathing; his kidneys failed; multiple infections ravaged his body. Unlike Terri Schiavo, he was in a state of steady deterioration and at death's imminent doorstep within days of his accident.

Unlike the Schiavo case, there was a family consensus among the DeLays and no dispute over what the father would have wanted. Moreover, DeLay was not the primary decision-maker in the family's choice to withhold heroic treatment. That role fell to his mother and another brother and sister.

There has been plenty of ugliness in the Terri Schiavo case, and to be honest it has come from both sides at various times. And now the SAEN has upped the ante by using Terri Schiavo's situation to misleadingly call Tom DeLay a hypocrite. Here is what DeLay's office had to say about the LA Times article:
"The situation faced by the congressman's family was entirely different than Terri Schiavo's," said a spokesman for the majority leader, who declined requests for an interview.

"The only thing keeping her alive is the food and water we all need to survive. His father was on a ventilator and other machines to sustain him," said Dan Allen, DeLay's press aide.

The editors of the SAEN should be ashamed of themselves, but we all know they won't be. I know it is only Monday, and I am loathe to make predictions, but I already see a clear front-runner for the "Outrage of the Week."
 

Reading between the (head)lines

So, I'm eating dinner and today's SAEN front page is lying there and just glancing at it, the headlines and subheadlines are so categorically biased that I cannot but call your attention to it.

"End-of-Life Crises 16 Years Apart" - "end-of-life", as if Terri Schiavo has reached the end of her natural life, rather than undergoing judicial execution via starvation. 13 days now...may God have mercy on her soul.

"No Holiday for Schiavo Activists" - Get it? Those religious fundamentalists don't even respect their own Holy Days. They're still out there wasting their time trying to save her life...on Easter! Such hypocrites!

"Protesters refuse to yield despite family's plea to tone it down" - Since the family has been rendered unthreatening with all of their judicial options denied, we can now afford to stop demonizing them for trying to keep their daughter alive. We can move to Act Two, where the tragic family members try to help us fight off the bloodthirsty theocrats who refuse to go away and just forget Terri is being murdered.

"DeLay's family faced similar pain" - "similar"...except, of course, that Schiavo was (still is) breathing on her own and simply cannot feed herself, whereas DeLay's father was on a ventilator and he expired almost immediately when it was removed. Terri Schiavo has been without food and water now for 13 days...she is still alive.

[Quoting DeLay's mother]: "Tom knew, we all knew, his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way." - In other words, even though the two situations are not at all comparable, DeLay is a vile hypocrite - REDISTRICTING FIEND! - who allowed his father to die - REDISTRICTING FIEND!! - a decent death which he now denies - REDISTRICTING FIEND! - to poor Terri Schiavo, who we all think should die. And, oh, did you know Tom DeLay used to be an exterminator? Ho ho ho!

"Appraisal cap bill is causing a big fuss - Some say it'll mean tax relief, but others say it'll cause nothing but grief." - Interesting juxtaposition of fact and conjecture. There is no doubt that the appraisal cap bill will mean tax relief. That's simple mathematics, so why the "some say"? Whoever doesn't say it will mean tax relief is a fool or a liar. "Others say" it'll cause nothing but grief. Sure - for power hungry local politicos who will have less of a tax slush fund for their pet projects.

"Protest in Iraq turns deadly" - We're sick and tired of the continuing stream of good news from Iraq. We've tried relegating it to page A15 every day. But now, something happened bad, so whoopee! we get to splash it on the front page! One person was killed in a wage reduction protest. One. Person. With all due respect to that one person, can you imagine how many thousands of violent events occurred around the world yesterday with a higher death toll than - one?

Seven for seven in biased headlines, Express-News, and that's just above the fold on the front page!
 

UTSA #2


Again, these students don't appear to be "traumatized" as Bob Rivard wants you to believe. In fact, they look like they are in thoughtful contemplation; just the sort of thing you would expect to find on a college campus and something Mr. Rivard should consider trying. Thanks again to Luke Leppla for the photo.  Posted by Hello
 

UTSA Pro-life Display


Pictures from the UTSA pro-life demonstration. I am no expert, but I don't see any "traumatized" people in this picture. You can see commentary on Bob Rivard's column here. Thanks to SAEN Watch reader Luke Leppla for this and many other pictures of the display.

Mark adds: In addition to his adjectives of "tasteless", "offensive" and "obscene", Rivard could easily add another: "true". Because that is the entire point of the display: to show the truth behind the euphemism of "choice". It is telling that abortion supporters are so eager to prevent the general public from seeing the reality of abortion, whether on a college campus or in the abortion clinic waiting room. They obviously understand that, when the Truth is seen, good people will recoil in horror and shame from any thought of aborting a child.
 Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 27, 2005

 

Weekend Roundup

I hope you all had an excellent Easter weekend. In case you missed SAEN Watch this weekend, here is what you missed:
1. SAEN to cancel El-Kikhia column as "Propaganda"?

2. Ivins: Biblically Illiterate

3. SAEN editorial repeats "GOP Schiavo memo" canard

4. SAEN: Nothing Special About Today

5. Robert Seltzer: "Stupid & Inept"

6. Rivard: "Freedom of assembly for me, not for thee"

Enjoy!
 

An Iraqi Celebrates Freedom

This past week we marked the second anniversary of the liberation of Iraq. The left in this country whined and moaned as usual, but here is what one Iraqi blogger had to say:
And on that note, let me remind my friends, and these enemies of mine that progress is being made, slowly, but surely in Iraq. Yesterday we learned that the terrorists have lost more men this month than in any other month. That is not progress? The more of them that die, the closer we come to absolute freedom. They are like roaches that must be stepped on, and the more that we step on the less there are to eat at us later, and the less there are to breed more!

Long Live a Free Iraq
Long Live Freedom
Long Live the Free World

If only the Democratic Party showed this much backbone!
 

Rivard: "Freedom of Assembly for me, but not for thee"

In Robert Rivard's Sunday column, we are treated to the appalling spectacle of the "editor and executive vice president" of the San Antonio Express-News advocating the denial of our First Amendment right of assembly.
It's a shame that the leadership of the University of Texas at San Antonio wasn't able to mount a serious legal challenge to last week's bizarre and offensive anti-abortion exhibit staged in the heart of the main campus near Sombrilla Plaza.
Rivard goes on to subjectively describe the images displayed as "tasteless", "offensive" and "obscene". This, from an editorial board which derides Conservative Christians for supposedly inflicting their own vision of morality on the rest of America!
Anti-abortion advocates have successfully sued both the University of Texas and the University of Houston in recent years to gain broader access to campuses. It's doubtful, then, that there will be any significant challenge to Justice for All's graphic and revolting traveling road show.

A legal challenge might have made another equally important political point. Right now, different courts are offering different interpretations of what constitutes free speech and assembly.
So, Rivard concedes that our judicial system has already certified the right to display these anti-abortion images - yet he maintains it is "a shame" no legal action was taken. We conclude that Rivard is recommending a nuisance, or SLAPP suit, in order to harass the anti-abortion protest. Interestingly, the SAEN vigorously opposes such unjust harassment suits (and quite rightly) when they are aimed by developers against aquifer activists...but apparently it's open season on abortion foes.
While the anti-abortion groups have silenced any challenges to their right to assault students, faculty and other passers-by with traumatizing images...
"Silenced"! So now it is the abortion protestors who are doing the silencing. You can almost sense the moral dilemma Rivard has backed himself into. He seems to realize the repugnant position he has taken against free assembly, so he inverts the picture to cast blame on the citizens who are exercising their rights of free speech and assembly. In his mind, it's not Rivard threatening their freedom to assemble, it's that the evil abortion haters have "silenced" their opposition - and, we might note, through the legal system usually so worshipped by Rivard and ACLUniks.

Let's try a little counterfactual exercise here. Say a pro-abortion group wanted to mount a "Save Roe v. Wade" protest at UTSA. The university takes legal action to prevent them (I know, it's difficult to imagine public school officials opposing abortion, but bear with me). The legal action is denied, the protest goes on. Is it even conceivable that Rivard would write that the pro-abortion group had "silenced" the challenges to their protest!?
Try mounting oversized images of Iraqi torture victims on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in a way that prevents lawmakers from entering or leaving the building without being filmed with the images as a backdrop and see how long it takes for someone to invoke Homeland Security concerns.
So, if some theoretical stifling of dissent is conceivable in Washington, that is enough to justify, for Rivard, actual suppression of free speech here at UTSA. In RivardWorld, it turns out two wrongs do make a right!

In any case, what does this have to do with Washington? Let's stick to apples and apples: "Try mounting oversized images of Iraqi torture victims on the grounds of UTSA..." Um, I'll bet it has already been done, and applauded by the administration.

If this were a regular left-wing hack, this rambling, incoherent rant - in the editorial section - would not be worth remarking on. What makes it so is the writer: Robert Rivard, who is listed as "the editor and executive vice president" of the San Antonio Express-News. This is the man who has ultimate editorial control of each and every news article printed in our only local newspaper. In this column he has revealed himself as so vigorously pro-abortion that he literally is ashamed that a completely legal anti-abortion protest was not suppressed by legalistic maneuvers. How can any anti-abortion group in the city possibly expect to receive even-handed treatment in news articles which are controlled by Rivard - an editor who is such a strident opponent of abortion foes that he proudly writes a column to that effect for all to see?

At this point, we need to ask: why does the SAEN not have a position of ombudsman?
 

Robert Seltzer: "Stupid & Inept"

In his column today Robert Seltzer is upset because various scenarios involving terrorist attacks were "inadvertently posted" onto a website in Hawaii. The scenarios included blowing up a chlorine tank, spreading pneumonic plague and infecting cattle with foot-and-mouth disease. Mr. Seltzer is mad because he feels that by posting this information onto the world wide web the Homeland Security Department is giving terrorists ideas about ways to attack us. This is absurd. He says:
The terrorists are evil and ingenious enough on their own. They do not need our stupidity and ineptitude to serve as accomplices. You can bet your duct tape on that.

No offense to Mr. Seltzer, but it is stupid and inept to think that the terrorist have not already thought of this on their own. Sure, it was stupid that this information was posted onto the web, but that is a far cry from then claiming that the act was criminally negligent, which is a leap Mr. Seltzer seems all to happy to make. Just take a look at this, from a CIA report dated January 30, 2002:
"Terrorist groups also have expressed interest in many other toxic industrial chemicals -- most of which are relatively easy to acquire and handle -- and traditional chemical agents, including chlorine and phosgene and some groups have discussed nerve agents."

"Terrorist groups are most interested in chemicals such as cyanide salts to contaminate food and water supplies or to assassinate individuals."

So as early as 2002, the CIA reported that terrorist had already considered using toxic industrial chemicals, specifically mentioning chlorine, as well as the contamination of food supplies. In fact, al Qaeda was very interested in poisoning our food supply, as documents found in Afghanistan show:
Al Qaeda's interest in American agriculture was more than academic, according to government officials. A significant part of the group's training manual is reportedly devoted to agricultural terrorism - the destruction of crops, livestock and food processing operations.

Plans to target our agricultural system were developed with good reason:
Agriculture is an obvious target for terrorists: infecting plants or animals with deadly disease is easier, cheaper and less risky than infecting humans directly; the economic consequences of a widespread attack would be enormous; and the panic and fear such an attack might reap could lead to wide-scale social disruption.

So we have evidence of two of the three scenarios Seltzer mentioned, but what about the third, biological weapons? As the Council on Foreign Relations reports, al Qaeda was experimenting with biological agents in Afghanistan prior to 9/11:
U.S. officials say they found a laboratory under construction near Kandahar that seems to have been intended for developing biological weapons...

As I already mentioned, it is almost certain that our terrorist enemies have considered anything we have thought of to prepare for, and the publishing of the documents on the web, while unfortunate, did not increase the danger to ourselves. If Mr. Seltzer would come down off his pedestal for a short while he might have known this.
 

SAEN: Nothing Special About Today

I must admit that even I was surprised when I looked at the front page of today's SAEN and noticed that the SAEN fails to even acknowledge that today is Easter (the SAEN ignored Christmas too). Would it so offend the elitist editors of the paper to acknowledge an important day like today? What a prime example of political correctness run amok. Perhaps somebody needs to remind Bob Rivard and friends that the Establishment Clause only applies to Congress, not local "newspapers."
 

SAEN editorial repeats "GOP Schiavo memo" canard

In offering their usual editorial criticism of any Republican-sponsored legislation, the SAEN regurgitates the unsubstantiated "GOP strategy memo".
The unconscionable cynicism of whoever distributed a one-page unsigned memo to Republican senators last weekend. It told them that this would be a great political issue that could pay dividends with Christian conservatives whose support is essential for midterm elections in 2006, according to the Washington Post's Web site.
The existence of this anonymous memo was initially flacked by ABC News, which has backed off its original assertion of the memo as a Republican policy statement. Power Line blog reports:
ABC first reported the memo as a bombshell that disclosed Republican strategy. Now it says that the memo "discussed a republican bill" and was "distributed to [some] repulbican [sic] senators." Whatever ABC may think of the "politics of the Shivo [sic] case," the network admits that it knows nothing about who authored and distributed the memo.
Even the Washington Post, which further spread the story has admitted it has never even seen the memo.
When asked why the memo had not been seen, [The WaPost's] Kaiser said, "Good question. ... Mike [Allen, the Post writer who wrote the story] is not here now so I can't confirm my hunch that his sources read him the memo but didn't give him a copy. That happens quite often these days."
An unsigned, unseen memo, distributed by an unknown person to Republican senators, which depicts the GOP taking a particularly cynical political advantage of this life and death issue. Can you spell "dirty tricks"? Did ABC, The Washington Post and now the San Antonio Express-News learn nothing from Dan Rather and his fake National Guard memos?

Actually, it's worse than that, if you re-read the SAEN editorial. It's obvious that they are fully aware of the dubious origin of the memos: "...whoever distributed..." - "...unsigned memo...". Yet this editorial deliberately inserts this unfounded canard in a place where the reader will be lead to the conclusion that it was, indeed, generated officially from the Republican Party.

I am a firm believer that most instances of liberal media bias are subconscious, deriving from the left-wing ideology of the reporters and editors who vastly outnumber conservative members of the mainstream media. It is rare indeed to see a blatant, conscious manipulation of facts. Yet here we see the SAEN repeating an unfounded canard in a context which is intended to mislead their readers.

The SAEN editorial board should be ashamed.
 

Ives: Biblically illiterate

Is it proper to allude to Biblical tradition to make points in a political column when you have no idea what you are talking about?
The disciples behaved badly. While the women were holding vigil at the foot of the cross, the guys were nowhere to be seen.
No "guys" there? Well, unless Saint John got himself "transgendered" during Christ's Passion...
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."

Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Friday, March 25, 2005

 

SAEN to cancel El-Kikhia column as "propaganda"??

I thought I would never see the day when the SAEN would admit that giving editorial space to a raving anti-Semite such as Mansour El-Kikhia was not providing "balance", but rather inflicting propaganda on its readers.
Balance is a watchword in journalism. In reporting the news, the media's goal is to present competing views of contentious issues. In commenting about the news, editorial pages seek diverse viewpoints.

Sometimes, however, the commitment to achieve balance can conflict with an even greater obligation to report truthfully and keep commentary within the bounds of reasonably established facts...

Propaganda can no more balance history than lies can balance the truth.
Oh, wait a minute...it turns out SAEN is just talking about C-SPAN's presentation of a vile Holocaust denier.

"Never mind."

After all, from what is said, El-Kikhia is merely a 9/11 denier*, not a Holocaust denier.

* We challenge anyone, in particular the SAEN editorial board, to confront El-Kikhia and ask him, point blank, whether or not he believes "the Jews" were responsible for 9/11.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

 

Pic Of The Day: Iraq


Chaplin Lt. Col. Tommy Fuller hands out coloring books and pencils to Iraqi school children as members of the 155th Brigade Combat Team from Tupelo, Miss., deliver school supplies to Al Mutnba Primary school located near Camp Kalsu, in the Babil Province,Iraq, on March 22, 2005. Fuller initiated the Adopt a School program at Camp Kalsu. This is a program that allows different units to choose a local school while connecting them with a U.S. school to recieve help with supplies and start a pen pal program.
 Posted by Hello
 

"In Love With Death"

In today's Opinion Journal Peggy Noonan tackled the Terri Schiavo situation. She asks some interesting questions:
I do not understand why people who want to save the whales (so do I) find campaigns to save humans so much less arresting. I do not understand their lack of passion. But the save-the-whales people are somehow rarely the stop-abortion-please people.
The PETA people, who say they are committed to ending cruelty to animals, seem disinterested in the fact of late-term abortion, which is a cruel procedure performed on a human.

I do not understand why the don't-drill-in-Alaska-and-destroy-its-prime-beauty people do not join forces with the don't-end-a-life-that-holds-within-it-beauty people.

I do not understand why those who want a freeze on all death penalty cases in order to review each of them in light of DNA testing--an act of justice and compassion toward those who have been found guilty of crimes in a court of law--are uninterested in giving every last chance and every last test to a woman whom no one has ever accused of anything.

There are passionate groups of women in America who decry spousal abuse, give beaten wives shelter, insist that a woman is not a husband's chattel. This is good work. Why are they not taking part in the fight for Terri Schiavo? Again, what explains their lack of passion on this? If Mrs. Schiavo dies, it will be because her husband, and only her husband, insists she wanted to, or would want to, or said she wanted to in a hypothetical conversation long ago. A thin reed on which to base the killing of a human being.

She concludes with what comes after Terri's death:
Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.

I hope you will find the time to read the entire article.
 

Local Journalist Makes It Big

Congratulations to SAEN columnist Jonathan Gurwitz for being published in today's Wall Street Journal. The column, headlined "Gone Sour In Sugar Land?" is about Tom DeLay. Here is an excerpt from the column:
The recent swirl of ethics charges surrounding Rep. DeLay plays just about the same here in Texas as it does anywhere else outside the Beltway. "Tom was stupid for messing with corporate money," a prominent Houston GOP leader told me, referring to allegations that a political action committee founded by Mr. DeLay may have violated state law by misusing corporate donations. "If he's not careful, he'll end up like Gingrich."

He concludes with some advice for Mr. Delay, advice SAEN Watch thinks he should follow:
Political figures are rarely as good or as bad--or as simple--as conventional wisdom and the media tend to portray. Tom DeLay is no exception. To retain the loyalty of his Republican colleagues and his district's voters in the future, he'll need to restore some of the ordinariness that distinguished him in the past.

Again, congratulations to Mr. Gurwitz.
 

Has The SAEN Seen The Light?

Not only does the SAEN have a positive story about Iraq on today's front page, but the daily "death box" isn't in today's paper. The story reports that Iraqi and American troops killed 85 terrorists when they wiped out their training camp in Iraq:
An Iraqi official said Wednesday that 85 insurgents were killed on Tuesday when Iraqi commandos, assisted by U.S. air and ground support, staged a midday attack on a suspected training camp in a rural area northwest of the capital.

The guerrilla death toll was the largest in any battle since the Marines led an assault on the insurgent-held city of Fallujah in November, when more than 1,000 fighters were reported killed.

I can give credit where credit is due so good for the SAEN!
 

Open Mic At SAEN Watch

Local poet Russ Vaughn has written another great poem:

Naught’s Solved by War?

A flickering dawn lights Islam’s hills
A faint emerging light.
Can the torch of Lady Liberty
Flare away Medieval night?
How fitting our bold symbol
Of all that’s good and right
Eyewitness to the Jihad’s wrath,
Stands forefront in this fight.

Her torch is not mere sculpted bronze,
To those in Mullahs’ chain’s;
But a lamp held high against the sky
Showing them that hope remains.
Their feudal sheiks view us with scorn,
So obsessed with earthly pleasure;
But one thing they fear that we hold dear,
Is that Bill of Rights we treasure.

We drove a tyrant from his throne,
Brought his people free election.
Think it concerns them overmuch,
WMD’s escaped detection?
Just behold those blue-stained fingers,
Like the Lady’s torch, held high,
So proud of their brave turnout,
Putting Liberals to the lie.

How say you now nay Sayers?
What of your dire predictions?
Like fools you swore naught’s solved by war,
Another of your Liberal fictions.
But now you face a hard clear truth:
A truth that you forswore:
This aborning Bush Democracy
Was midwifed by his war.

Within the womb of Islam,
Freedom’s heart so feebly beats.
Is it up us to make it thrive,
To birth it their streets?
What say you disbelieving Libs,
How now shall this thing go?
Shall we execute your exit plan,
Or stay and help it grow?

Russ raises an interesting question. In light of the poor treatment of women by the Taliban and under Saddam, why aren't liberal women's groups like NOW more supportive of U.S. efforts in these countries?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

 

Susan Ives: It's easy to see that war has already cost Americans too much

Wow, I can't believe I missed this in the print edition. Susan Ives is terrified. If you read between the lines, she's basically saying "We need to abandon Iraq - now! - before GW Bush is vindicated!"

This baseless quagmire column is something we were seeing incessantly a year ago. But after the successful elections in Iraq in January, it comes off as simply desperate.

Perhaps the column title should read: It's easy to see that war has already cost Americans of the Democratic Party too much
 

Terri Schiavo: A Doctor Speaks

By now we have all heard that Terri's brain stem has liquefied, but a doctor blogging over at CodeBlueBlog disagrees with this diagnosis. He concludes:
If you starve this woman to death it would be, in my professional and experienced medical opinion, the equivalent of starving to death a 75-85 year old person. I would take that to the witness stand.

You can view the CT Scan of Terri's brain at this blog and read more of what this doctor has to say.
 

Update: Errors In ABC Poll

As I commented yesterday, the SAEN used the results of a poll taken by ABC News that asked about the Terri Schiavo situation. The questions asked was:
Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years, doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her husband and her parents disagree about whether she would have wanted to be kept alive. Florida courts have sided with the husband and her feeding tube was removed on Friday. What's your opinion on this case - do you support or oppose the decision to remove Schiavo's feeding tube[emphasis added]?

The problem is that Terri is not on life support as the question claims. Michelle Malkin writes an excellent column about this today and says:
But ABC News did not see fit to inform either the poll takers or its viewers of the truth. Instead, it misled them -- and the result was a poll response that produced --voila! -- "broad public disapproval" for any government intervention to spare Terri from slowly starving to death. Blogger Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters (captainsquartersblog.com) noted: "Either ABC is completely incompetent in conducting research, or they have attempted to fool their viewers and readership with false polling that essentially lies about the case in question. Since when does ABC conduct push polling for euthanasia?"

Imagine how the poll results might have turned out if ABC News had made clear to participants that Terri is not terminally ill. Not in excruciating pain. Capable of saying "Mommy" and "Help me." And of "getting the feeling she's falling" or getting "excited," in her husband's own testimony, when her head is not held properly.

Imagine how the poll results might have turned out if ABC News had informed participants that in a sworn affidavit, registered nurse Carla Sauer Iyer, who worked at the Palm Garden of Largo Convalescent Center in Largo, Fla., while Terri Schiavo was a patient there, testified: "Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death. Michael would say 'When is she going to die?' 'Has she died yet?' and 'When is that bitch gonna die?'"

ABC News has removed the poll questions from it's website. Moreover, I don't expect the SAEN to print a correction anytime soon.
 

Pic Of The Day: Iraq


U.S. Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, attached to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, uncover a case of ordnance in a weapons cache buried outside of Kharma, Iraq, on March 3, 2005. The Marines are engaged in Security and Stabilization Operations in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq.  Posted by Hello
 

An Honest Liberal

Froma Harrop writes about the Summer's issue today and makes this stunning admission on page 7B of the Metro section:
No one questions Summers' constitutional right to say that roughly half his student body may be genetically handicapped in the hard sciences. He had every right to say that. He just can't say such things and expect to remain president of Harvard.

She doesn't even care it what he says was correct. She just comes right out and says that he should be canned for saying it. You would think that a university campus would be just the kind of place to think aloud and debate issues, but Harrop makes it clear that it isn't. Borrowing one of the left's buzz words, how intolerant of her.

Note: I write about and explain the Summers kerfuffle here.
 

I Have A Dumb Question

I was reading "Congress horns in on Waco summit" on the front page of today's SAEN and I noticed the term "undocumented workers." So my question is: When did we stop calling illegal aliens "illegal aliens?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

 

The "C" Word

Interesting article about the Schiavo case on the front page of the SAEN today, headlined "The politics of life and death." Read through it and you might notice that the word "conservative" is used nine time...NINE times. However, read through it again and you will notice that the word "liberal" isn't used once...NOT ONCE. The story quotes Congressman Barney Frank several times and yet fails to identify him as a liberal once. In addition, the article quotes Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and never once identifies her as a liberal. Hey, I think I see a pattern here!

In the same article the SAEN quotes from an ABC News poll that found 70% of the public "considered congressional intervention in the case inappropriate." As we all know, poll results are dependent on the questions asked, and in this case ABC News asked a question that was very misleading:
Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years, doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her husband and her parents disagree about whether she would have wanted to be kept alive. Florida courts have sided with the husband and her feeding tube was removed on Friday. What's your opinion on this case - do you support or oppose the decision to remove Schiavo's feeding tube?

Talk about a loaded question! What results did they expect when the question states that "her condition is irreversible?"
 

Update: Terri Schiavo

The following is taken from the affidavit of a former nurse of Terri Schiavo, the woman the SAEN editorial board wants us to let die by starvation. I am not saying that what this woman has to say is absolutely true, but if the possibility exist that Terri could get better don't we owe it to her to try? Here is what Carla Iyer said under oath:
When I came into her room and said "Hi, Terri", she would always recognize my voice and her name, and would turn her head all the way toward me, saying "Haaaiiiii" sort of, as she did. I recognized this as a "hi", which is very close to what it sounded like, the whole sound being only a second or two long. When I told her humorous stories about my life or something I read in the paper, Terri would chuckle, sometimes more a giggle or laugh. She would move her whole body,
upper and lower. Her legs would sometimes be off the bed, and need to be repositioned. I made numerous entries into the nursing notes in her chart, stating verbatim what she said and her various behaviors, but by my next on-duty shift, the notes would be deleted from her chart.

Every time I made a positive entry about any responsiveness of Terri's, someone would remove it after my shift ended. Michael always demanded to see her chart as soon as he arrived, and would take it in her room with him. I documented Terri's rehab potential well, writing whole pages about Terri's responsiveness, but they would always be deleted by the next time I saw her chart. The reason I wrote so much was that everybody else seemed to be afraid to make positive
entries for fear of their jobs, but I felt very strongly that a nurses job was to accurately record everything we see and hear that bears on a patients condition and their family. I upheld the Nurses Practice Act, and if it cost me my job, I was willing to accept that

Now I am no doctor, but it sure sounds like Terri operates at a level above "vegetable." In addition, Ms. Iyer testified that she believes Terri's husband was injecting her with insulin in an effort to kill her:
When Michael visited Terri, he always came alone and always had the door closed and locked while he was with Terri. He would typically be there about twenty minutes or so. When he left Terri would be trembling, crying hysterically, and would be very pale and have cold
sweats. It looked to me like Terri was having a hypoglycemic reaction, so I'd check her blood sugar. The glucometer reading would be so low it was below the range where it would register an actual number reading. I would put dextrose in Terri's mouth to counteract it. This happened about five times on my shift, as I recall. Normally Terri's blood sugar levels were very stable due to the uniformity of her diet through tube feeding. It is medically possible that Michael injected
Terri with Regular insulin, which is very fast acting, but I don't have any way of knowing for sure.

This only confirms what I said earlier, that Michael Schiavo is not the loving husband the MSM is making him out to be. Can we really trust him to make decisions in the best interest of Terri? It is just amazing that the SAEN editorial board failed to mention any of this when they argued today to let Terri die.

Part II:

Apparently Terri has in fact received rehabilitation in the past (15 years ago), from the Guardian Ad Litem report:
In late Autumn of 1990, following months of therapy and testing, formal diagnoses of persistent vegetative state with no evidence of improvement, Michael took Theresa to California, where she received an experimental thalamic stimulator implant in her brain. Michael remained in California caring for Theresa during a period of several months and returned to Florida with her in January of 1991. Theresa was transferred to the Mediplex Rehabilitation Center in Brandon, where she received 24 hour skilled care, physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapies.

Despite aggressive therapies, physician and other clinical assessments consistently revealed no functional abilities, only reflexive, rather than cognitive movements, random eye opening, no communication system and little change cognitively or functionally. On 19 July 1991 Theresa was transferred to the Sable Palms skilled care facility. Periodic neurological exams, regular and aggressive physical, occupational and speech therapy continued through 1994.

I don't know how to square this with what the nurse says in her affidavit, but I can say that this does not change my stance on Terri's fate. Her parents say they want to care for their daughter and I say let them. In addition, the Guardian's report has this to say about Michael, and his motives in this case:
Michael's decision not to treat was based upon discussions and consultation with Theresa's doctor, and was predicated on his reasoned belief that there was no longer any hope for Theresa's recovery. It had taken Michael more than three years to accommodate this reality and he was beginning to accept the idea of allowing Theresa to die naturally rather than remain in the non-cognitive, vegetative state. It took Michael a long time to consider the prospect of getting on with his life - something he was actively encouraged to do by the Schindlers, long before enmity tore them apart. He was even encouraged by the Schindlers to date, and introduced his in-law family to women he was dating. But this was just prior to the malpractice case ending.

Again, I don't know how to square this with the what the nurse said, but again, it doesn't change my views on what should happen to Terri. I am surprised, very surprised to hear that Terri's parents encouraged Michael Schiavo to date other women, not that it excuses his behavior.
 

Pic Of The Day-Afghanistan


The commander of Combined Joint Task Force 76 Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya (l), and Oruzgan Province governor Hajji Jan Mohammed, discuss concerns and solutions to recent flooding that occurred in the village of Cekzai, Afghanistan, on March 20, 2005.  Posted by Hello
 

And Darn It, People Like Me (Or Not)

I have received plenty of hate mail since I started this blog. It seems some people are pretty thin-skinned, and fear debate. For those of you who do send me hate mail I have to tell you that calling me a liar or a jerk hardly furthers the debate. In fact, about a month ago I even received a death threat. My first---I was so proud! Apparently this guy, Ali, was upset because I called Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a coward on my blog, but mostly the Commando's hate mail is good for a laugh or two, and I thought I would share a particularly obnoxious one, from a particularly cowardly person, that I received yesterday. I will keep this person's identity anonymous. Enjoy:
Your are a stupid person. You are an ignorant a stupid liar at spreading hate, and that is all there is to say. Don't write to me any more.

Apart from this person's atrocious grammar I would like to point out that this person wrote to me, so there really is no reason to ask me not to write to them. He/she concludes their letter with:
Now buzz off.

Like I said, good for a few laughs. This person was not interested in debating the issue, but in calling me names. Furthermore, because I did not agree with him or her I am a stupid person. How arrogant is that?
 

Oh, The Horror, The Horror...

Time for another installment of "Stupid Headlines!" From a story on page 2A of today's SAEN:

Monster hog was no fish tale


Ouch!
 

Baseball Is More Important Than Terri

Before you get mad at me for saying that, it wasn't me, it was the SAEN Editorial Board. In today's lead editorial they say "Congress out of line to 'rescue' Schiavo." However, back on March 11th they were all for Congressional hearings on steroids in baseball, saying:
The committee, set to begin the hearings Thursday, is throwing its weight around. It is about time someone did, someone besides the behemoths on the field.

But in today's editorial they say Congress is wasting it's time:
Republican leaders crafted legislation that applies to this single individual. Should they not be dealing with broad national issues?

Moreover, the lack of understanding of the Constitution shown in the editorial is mind-boggling:
This is a family matter, and her husband, if marriage is sacred, has the right to decide. Beyond that, it is a state, not federal, matter. How ironic that the party of states' rights would have the federal government intrude in this decision.

States rights? I don't think so. No matter what side you are on regarding this issue, it is safe to say that Congress was well within it's enumerated constitutional powers to act. From Article III of the Constitution:
The judicial Power of the Unites States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

So it really isn't ironic at all that the "party of states rights" intervened in this case in the way that it did. And as we learned this morning, Congress didn't "save" Terri Schiavo at all, but only gave her parents the right to pursue her case in federal court. It is now being reported that the federal judge presiding over that case just denied their motion to have the feeding tube put back.

The editorial board calls the whole thing “frightening,” but what is really frightening is the “culture of death” in this country and the newspaper editorial boards that support it. I can hardly believe that when a bunch of whales beach themselves hundreds of people show up to give them water, but when a helpless woman needs water these same people say “let her die.”

Let’s take a look at what the editorial didn’t tell you about Terri’s situation:
1. Her parents have agreed to take care of her. Her Husband can wash his hands of her by simply letting this happen. Her parents, and many doctors, believe that Terri can recover if she were to receive rehabilitation, but her husband won’t let her get the care she needs, and yet the SAEN editorial board says “let her die.”
2. One of Terri’s nurses has given an affidavit saying that she witnessed Terri speaking simple words like “Mom” and “Help,” and yet the SAEN editorial board says “let her die.” In the same affidavit, the nurse claims she witnessed Terri’s husband giving her insulin injection in the hopes it would cause her to go into shock and die, and yet the SAEN editorial board defers to his judgments and says “let her die.”
3. Terri’s “loving husband” now lives with another woman and has two children with her. Shouldn’t this mean that he relinquishes his right to speak on her behalf? And yet the SAEN editorial board says “let her die.”
Finally, no one really knows if Terri would get better if she were to be given the rehabilitation her parents want her to have, but shouldn’t we, as a society, err on the side of like and give her a chance? The SAEN editorial board just says: “let her die.”

Monday, March 21, 2005

 

SAEN Covers For UN

On today's front page the SAEN has a report headlined "Major reforms proposed for U.N." I saw this and said, wonderful, I can't wait to read about it. Let's see, the first paragraph tells me that Kofi Annan has called for the most sweeping changes in the UN's history; so far, so good. Let's see, the second paragraph tells me that his reforms include changing the Human Rights Commission, expanding the Security Council, and adopting a new definition of terrorism. Okay, so far so good. Some of these changes are a little late, but let's play along for a second. Of course it's Monday, and we are all in a hurry, so we see that the story is continued on page 6A, but we have to get to work so we don't turn to the rest of the story. Besides, the SAEN already told me what all about the reforms in the second paragraph of the story right? Dear readers, you couldn't be more wrong about that.

You see, the SAEN has cleverly hidden the most insidious reform of all back on page 6A, in the 23rd paragraph of a 24 paragraph story. Kofi and Company want to confiscate 0.7% of our GDP for the UN to spend on "promoting democracy." This tax will only apply to "developing countries" and according to Fox News it will increase our payments to the UN by 300%. The SAEN buried what is the most important item to Americans, and it's readers, at the end of the article where few will read it, why? How infuriating is that? You see, the editors of the SAEN support this proposal, but they know that you, my readers and their readers, are not intelligent enough to make the right decision about this issue. So they buried it; pretended it wasn't there, and hoped nobody would notice. Well, I did, and now you know.

Note to Kofi and Company: the United States is already promoting democracy around the world, something you have opposed, and we are doing quite well without you thank you very much. Of course, Kofi did not submit the reform most needed at the UN, his resignation.
 

Let's Go To Selma!

According to SAEN writer Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje you can join the next fight for civil rights right here in San Antonio! From her Sunday story:
At the monthly meeting of the San Antonio Gender Association you'll also find transgendered folk whom you could stand next to in a grocery store line and never guess they had switched genders. They are beautiful young women with graceful necks and elegant figures. They are handsome, flannel-shirted young men with broad chests and facial hair.

That's right folks, the next front in the civil rights battle is for the Transgendered:
At the monthly meeting of the San Antonio Gender Association you'll also find transgendered folk whom you could stand next to in a grocery store line and never guess they had switched genders. They are beautiful young women with graceful necks and elegant figures. They are handsome, flannel-shirted young men with broad chests and facial hair.

My only comment about this, other than the absurdity of linking it with civil rights, is that this is a beautiful example of why the SAEN is liberal.
 

El-Kikhia: Blame Israel

Friday's column by El-Kikhia was disturbing. It was disturbing because anti-Semitism has become so accepted in this country as a legitimate form of scholarship. Here is what he says about the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri:
Hariri's death was a catastrophe for both Syria and Lebanon, because his murderers were intent upon humiliating Syria and keeping Lebanon on the edge of anarchy.

El-Kikhia never identifies the nameless, faceless perpetrators of this crime as he sees it, but who gains from "humiliating" Syria and keeping Lebanon on the "edge of anarchy?" That's right folks, the Jews, Israel. I actually don't fault the Express-News here, they probably never saw this coming.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

 

Yay Spring Break!

It's spring break and the Commando is going fishing! I will be back in action on Monday the 21st and Mark will be back from his vacation on the 22nd. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and God bless.

--Commando

Friday, March 18, 2005

 

Trouble In Syria?

I'd take this with a grain of salt, but here it is anyway. From the Lebanese Foundation for Peace:
The regime of President Bashar Assad has come under severe strain over the decision to pull back forces from Lebanon and, according to an unconfirmed report, Assad has fled Damascus to regroup in Aleppo.

Lebanese opposition sources said the Assad regime has been divided over the decision to withdraw thousands of troops from Lebanon. The sources said some elements of the military have refused to follow orders for the pullout of troops as well as intelligence agents from both central Lebanon and the eastern Bekaa Valley.

Syria's military increased deployment around Damascus due to tension within the regime. The opposition Lebanese Foundation for Peace said the Syrian military has undergone a split, with a rebel faction having taken control over parts of the capital, Middle East Newsline reported. The rebel faction was said to be led by Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan and Firas Tlas, the son of former Defense Minister Mustapha Tlas. The sources said this group, which included Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Rustom Ghazaleh and Maj. Gen. Ali Madi, has rebelled against Assad's decision to withdraw from Lebanon.

"Around 3 a.m. [Wednesday], Damascus time, the Syrian Air Force bombarded two military airfields around Damascus, the air force base of Dumair, and the air force base of Katana," the opposition Lebanese Foundation for Peace said. "Also, late night around 3 a.m., the Syrian Air Force bombarded military positions of the Syrian Army west of the city of Homs."

There was no confirmation of this report. There were no unusual military movements reported in Damascus on Thursday.

 

Blogger Trouble

I am having more than the usual number of problems with Blogger today. I will post comments when things get cleared up. Sorry for the inconvenience.

--Commando

Thursday, March 17, 2005

 

Political Correctness Run Amok

In Wednesday's "News Briefs" (page 7A) the SAEN reports on the Lawrence Summers kerfuffle by blatantly showcasing its liberal bias. From the item:
In a symbolic but stunning rebuke, Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a motion Tuesday saying it lacked confidence in President Lawrence Summers---the first such action in the nearly 400-year history of the university.

The 218-185 vote supporting the motion--which even supporters had expected to be defeated--was in response to disparaging comments Summers made in January about women in science[emphasis mine].

In a perfect world, where the SAEN was actually unbiased in its news reporting, the description of Summers' comments as "disparaging" would have been left out. If you knew nothing of what brought on the no confidence vote you would be hard pressed to disagree with Harvard's faculty because the SAEN tells you the comments were "disparaging." Who wants to support a guy who makes "disparaging" comments about women? Not I certainly; however, I know the rest of the story, and so I know the SAEN has ignored the idea of fair and balanced reporting in order to make a value judgment. Basically, Lawrence Summers is in trouble for saying that women and men are different. Here is what got Summers in so much trouble with the liberal SAEN, according to a Washington Post report:
Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers prompted criticism for suggesting that innate differences between the sexes could help explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers.

Oh, the horror! And Summers wasn't even stating the idea as fact, but as something to promote discussion at a conference he was attending:
Summers told the Globe he was discussing hypotheses based on the scholarly work assembled for the conference, not expressing his own views. He also said more research needs to be done on the issues. He said people "would prefer to believe" that differences in performance between the sexes are due to social factors, "but these are things that need to be studied."

So the SAEN feel that it has to make a value judgment in reporting on this by calling his remarks "disparaging." As Linda Chavez points out in the Washington Times, Summers was on firm ground, factually speaking:
But as uncomfortable as it might make feminists, the empirical evidence points to small but important differences in scientific and mathematical abilities between men and women.

In the realm of political correctness in which the SAEN operates, facts don't matter; the remark was "disparaging" even if it is true. Am I wrong on this?
 

Update: Iraq & The SAEN

Here is an update of an earlier post, Iraq & The SAEN (hat tip: ELB). From a speech given last night at the Ft. Hood Officers' Club MG Pete Chiarelli, CG of the 1st Cav Div. He and most of the Div. have just returned from Iraq. Very informative and, surprise, the Mainstream Media isn't telling the story (from Instapudit). Some highlights:
1. He showed a graph of attacks in Sadr City by month. Last Aug-Sep they were getting up to 160 attacks per week. During the last three months, the graph had flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.

2. His big point was not that they were "winning battles" to do this but that cleaning the place up, electricity, sewage, water were the key factors. He said yes they fought but after they started delivering services that the Iraqis in Sadr City had never had, the terrorist recruiting of 15 and 16 year olds came up empty.

3. Pointed out that we all heard from the media about the 100 Iraqis killed as they were lined up to enlist in the police and security service. What the media didn't point out was that the next day there 300 lined up in the same place.

4. Said bin Laden and Zarqawi made a HUGE mistake when bin laden went public with naming Zarqawi the "prince" of al Quaeda in Iraq. Said that what the Iraqis saw and heard was a Saudi telling a Jordainan that his job was to kill Iraqis. HUGE mistake. It was one of the biggest factors in getting Iraqis who were on the "fence" to jump off on the side of the coalition and the new gov't.

5. Said the MSM was making a big, and wrong, deal out of the religious sects. Said Iraqis are incredibly nationalistic. They are Iraqis first and then say they are Muslum but the Shi'a - Sunni thing is just not that big a deal to them.

So a man who has been there doesn't think the MSM is getting it right either. No surprise here. I suppose the SAEN will ignore this too because they consider it propaganda.
 

The Whole Truth On ANWR

One of the SAEN's lead stories on the front page is about the Senate's approval of drilling in ANWR. I would like to clear up a major misconception (lie) in the SAEN's coverage. The SAEN implies drilling will take place throughout ANWR's 1.5 million acre coastal plain:
Nevertheless, the Senate made clear with Wednesday's vote that a majority now supports tapping what is believed to be at least 10.4 billion barrels of oil within the refuge's 1.5 million-acre coastal plain, sad Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Unfortunately, this is not true. As the Washington Times explains, drilling will take place on a miniscule portion of the coastal plain:
The provision allows for drilling on up to 2,000 acres of the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the refuge, and supporters argued that doing so would be good for Alaska's economy and for American energy independence.

And in light of record oil prices (unless you adjust for inflation) I am okay with that.

In addition, the SAEN goes on to say that environmentalist are against drilling in ANWR because it would "harm the calving grounds of caribou, polar bears and millions of migratory birds..." Again, not entirely true. Calf of the Central Artic Herd of caribou have quadrupled since the Alaskan pipeline was built. Finally, if the SAEN is worried about birds, then we must address the cat issue now:
Estimates for how many birds cats kill in the United States vary almost as widely. The lowest estimates are around 100 million and go up to the 2.5 billion, though the consensus seems to hover around half a billion. What this leaves out, of course, is that many vulnerable bird species are particularly threatened by cats (and, alas, sometimes dogs as well), a non-native predator that often kills small animals for the fun of it.

 

More On Iraq & The SAEN

This is going to be a long post, but bear with me (hat tip: Instapundit). As I have reported before, Iraqi public opinion continues to turn against the terrorists operating in their country, and the SAEN is none the wiser:
Iraqi popular opinion has turned against terrorism in a big way. Apparently the key event was the revelation that Osama bin Laden had appointed Abu Musab al Zarqawi as "Emir" (leader) of al Qaeda efforts in Iraq and commanded him to go forth and kill big-time. But as suicide bombing attacks increasingly failed to reach American targets, and killed Iraqis instead, it appeared that a Saudi (bin Laden) was telling a Jordanian (Zarqawi) to kill Iraqis. This attitude never made headlines, but it slowly spread among Sunni Arab Iraqis over the last year. Sunni Arab areas where were most of the violence was, particularly after Shia Arab demagogue Moqtada Sadr stopped instigating violence (because he found that he had much less popular support than he believed). Once the Sunni Arabs turned against terrorism, the terrorists found themselves operating in an increasingly hostile environment.

Furthermore, American troops serving in Iraq continue to ask the question: "Where is the MSM getting it's news from?" More from Strategy Page:
They also saw, in neighborhood after neighborhood, the sharp decline in attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces. They knew the reason for this was the ongoing reconstruction work (mainly supervised by coalition troops) and terror attacks that killed mostly Iraqis. The foreign media appeared to be describing a place that sort of looked like Iraq, but wasn't. Because of the growing availability of email in Iraq, for Iraqis and foreign troops, more people around the world are able to get unfiltered (by journalists) reports from inside Iraq. This has left recipients of these emails wondering what's going on with the reporters. It's simple; fiction always outsells non-fiction.

I do not expect things to change anytime soon. The SAEN just got finished patting itself on the back over it's fair and balanced Iraq coverage on Monday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

 

Pic Of The Day: Iraq


U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, swears in four Army Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division as part of a reenlisting ceremony at Camp Victory, Iraq, on March 14, 2005. Just another prime example of what you won't find in the SAEN...ever...period.
 Posted by Hello
 

Better Late Than Never

On page 13A of today's SAEN a story reports that Pakistani President Musharraf claims that his troops almost caught bin Laden about 10 months ago, but that the trail has gone cold now. The article also reports something SAEN Watch first reported Monday, that Pakistan believes al-Qaida has been broken:
Musharraf and other Pakistani leaders say the silence is a sign they've destroyed al-Qaida's network here.

Wow, they devoted an entire sentence, 16 words, to the destruction of al-Qaida. What, they couldn't throw two sentences together about the destruction of the perpetrators of 9/11? Yeah, that's not newsworthy. Moreover, you'd never know it from the story's headline "Pakistani chief says his men almost bagged bin Laden."
 

An Historic Day...Nah!

Today is an historic day: Iraq's new Parliament is opening. And considering what is going on in the Middle East because of Iraq the day takes on even more significance. So how does the SAEN decide to report the ground breaking news--by burying it on page 17A of an 18 page section.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

 

Computer Meltdown

I am writing this from our local library branch because my computer had a meltdown this morning. I don't think I will be able to post anything else today. I apologize for the inconvenience and I will see you tomorrow. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Thanks,

--Commando
 

SAEN Misrepresents Study's Findings

On page 10A of Monday's SAEN there is a story headlined "Study reports balance in most of war coverage." To say that headline whitewashed the conclusions of the study is putting it mildly. Here is what the study found about coverage of the Iraq war:
Over all, across all media studied, stories about the war were just slightly more likely to carry a clearly negative tone than a positive one (25% negative versus 20% positive). The majority of stories, however, had no decided tone at all. The largest number, 35%, were neutral, and another 20% were about multiple subjects for which tone did not apply.

The SAEN story says:
Despite the exhaustive look, the study likely won't change the minds of war supporters who considered the media hostile to the Bush administration...

Well, my mind has not been changed so far because the study only confirms SAEN Watch's belief that the SAEN's coverage of the Iraq war is mostly negative. According to the study, 25% of the reports it looked at were negative in nature. In addition, the study found that 36% of stories about President Bush were negative, 3 times more than those about Kerry:
When it came to the campaign, on the other hand, the criticism that George Bush got worse coverage than John Kerry is supported by the data. Looking across all media, campaign coverage that focused on Bush was three times as negative as coverage of Kerry (36% versus 12%) It was also less likely to be positive (20% positive Bush stories, 30% for Kerry).

So despite the SAEN's rosy headline, the study simply confirmed the media's bias. My favorite part of the SAEN story is where they describe the study as "exhaustive;" however a look at the methodology of the report shows this not to be the case at all:
First, newspapers were divided into four groups based on daily circulation: Over 750,000; 300,001 to 750,000; 100,001 to 300,000, and 100,000 and under.


We included four newspapers over 750,000: USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. (The Wall Street Journal, which also falls in this category, was excluded as a specialty publication.)


Four newspapers were chosen in each of the remaining three categories. To ensure geographical diversity, each of the four newspapers within a circulation category was selected from a different geographic region of the U.S. Regions were defined according to the parameters established by the U.S. Census Bureau.

It should be noted that the SAEN was included in one of the groups studied. So the "exhaustive" survey looked at a total of 16 newspaper in the United States, and a total of only 28 days were chosen for review:
January- 13, 16, 23
February- 2, 13, 23rd, 29th
March- 8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 24
April- 8, 15
May- 1, 4, 20
June- 8, 9, 16
July- 19, 25
August- 10, 12
September- 4, 22, 26

Still think this study was exhaustive? Well, according to Journalism.org there were 1,457 newspapers in the U.S. in 2002. This study looked at about 1.1% of all newspapers published in the U.S., hardly "exhaustive" by any means. In addition, the sample was further reduced because the stories chosen were very particular:
All stories with distinct bylines that appeared on a particular newspaper's front page (Page A1), on the first page of the Local/Metro section, or on the first page of the sports section were selected for analysis.

Furthermore, the study only looked at the content of articles and not at things like photos, and as I point out here on an almost daily basis, if you look at any photo in the SAEN about Iraq it is bound to be negative. So the "death Box" that the SAEN publishes day in and day out about Iraq had no effect on the results of the study. In conclusion, the SAEN can jump for joy at these results; however, as I have shown the study has no basis in reality. The reality is that the SAEN's coverage of Iraq has been, and continues to be, overwhelmingly negative. In the SAEN's own words, it's propaganda.

Monday, March 14, 2005

 

al Qaeda Decapitated?

I like to remain guardedly optimistic when I read stories like this, but there is no doubt this is good news, and that means you won't see it in the SAEN. From Sunday's Washington Times, intelligence agents in Pakistan and Afghanistan say that Al Qaeda has been dismantled:
They say a relentless military crackdown, the arrests last summer of several men allegedly involved in plans to launch attacks on U.S. financial institutions, and the killing in September of a top Pakistani al-Qaida suspect wanted in a number of attacks - including the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and two failed assassination attempts against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf - have effectively decapitated al-Qaida.

Because of the secretive and underground nature of cells that operate throughout the world, it cannot be known for certain what effect the damage done to al-Qaida in its home territory has had on operations elsewhere.

And President Musharraf had this to say:
"We have broken their communication system. We have destroyed their sanctuaries," the president told reporters. "They are not in a position to move in vehicles. They are unable to contact their people. They are on the run."

Good news indeed.
 

Oh, Never Mind

After complaining yesterday (see Propaganda at the SAEN) that news from the Pentagon was propaganda, the SAEN goes on to cite the Pentagon as the source for news several times in today's paper. Maybe Sig Christenson was just kidding? First in the "News Briefs" section on page 6A the SAEN reports that two Marines were wounded on patrol in Afghanistan "the military said Sunday." Next, on page 10A ("Kurds say deal near...") the SAEN reports that US and Iraqi troops killed five terrorists. How does the SAEN know this? Well, "the military said" so. I am confused and don't know what to make of this. Either news from the Pentagon is propaganda or it isn't. In fact, since the SAEN is freely quoting military sources today I have to assume that the editors over at the SAEN don't agree with the conclusions drawn in Christenson's article yesterday.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

 

Propaganda At The SAEN

SAEN Military writer Sig Christenson has a column on today's front page that can only be described as an op/ed disguised as a news report. The headline is "Whose Truth is True." There is plenty wrong with the story, but let's dispense with the obvious first. My biggest question would be why can't both truths be true? The question asked in the headline implies that either the MSM or the Pentagon is lying, but I would say that both sides are telling the truth. The Pentagon has seen how negative the coverage of Iraq is by MSM outlets like the SAEN, and has initiated a program to report the other side of the story. Sig Christenson makes it clear what he thinks when he categorizes the Pentagon's side of the story as "propaganda" early in his report:
While Pentagon officials see the digitized electronic stories as a high-tech revolution in public relations, a kind of cyber-age news release, critics use the p-word when discussing the military's image-conscious efforts: propaganda.

In order to prove his point that the news the Pentagon is reporting cannot be relied on, Sig brings up something that has nothing to do with the issue being discussed:
The Bush administration, they say, has established a pattern of attempting to mislead the public with self-promotional material that imitates news stories.

The administration paid columnists to promote its agenda and aired TV spots touting its Medicaid prescription program and No Child Left Behind policies with a phony reporter, a violation of the rules forbidding the use of tax money for propaganda.

Fine, the Bush Administration paid some columnist to promote items such it's Medicaid prescription plan and No Child Left Behind, but that has nothing to do with the Pentagon releasing positive news about Iraq. In light of the overwhelming negativity of news about Iraq from MSM outlets like the SAEN, why shouldn't the Pentagon attempt to get out news that shows the whole picture? Regular readers of SAEN Watch know that on an almost daily basis I point out that the SAEN never has anything positive to say about events in Iraq; whether it be the pictures it shows or stories it runs. In case you need a refresher see here, here, here and here for just a few examples. If you still are not convinced that the SAEN ignores positive events in Iraq you can also see SAEN Watch's "Yay Iraq" series here, here and here. Okay, now back to the task at hand, Sig Chistenson's "report" in today's paper.

The story by Christenson cites several critics of the Pentagon's DVIDS policy. The critics that Christenson uses highlights perhaps more than anything the liberal tilt of the article. First we have former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta who is quoted as saying:
But ex-White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta worries that the military's electronic PR operation is taking Americans into uncharted waters. He said it raises questions about the need for journalistic standards and the operation's potential to shape American public opinion.

"We're living in a time when technology and the news is flying around the world, and on one hand (the project) assures the rapid communication of news, but on the other hand it also opens up the potential for abuse," said Panetta, who served during President Clinton's first term.

"The kind of abuse that basically you can flash this stuff so fast technologically it can appear and be used before anybody finds out there's something wrong with it."

Surely the thought crossed the authors mind that what Panetta says is politically motivated propaganda itself? Well, maybe it didn't because next Christenson quotes University of Houston "propaganda expert" Garth Jowett about his views:
"Now their lives are being not only made easier for them, but it's also being made easier by an officially sanctioned government agency, and that clearly is to the detriment of objective reporting inside the United States."

Clearly by asking a "propaganda expert" his views of what the Pentagon is doing reveals that Christenson had an agenda going into this article. Next we have another impartial critic in Democratic Representative Solomon Ortiz of Corpus Christi:
"It's got to pass the smelling test, and I don't think it passes," he said.

The only people in favor of the program that Christenson quotes are military personnel. I find it hard to believe that an independent voice could not be found to support what the Pentagon is doing, but then that wouldn't fit with the bias Christenson is basing his story on. Did it ever occur to Christenson that the Pentagon has been forced into this by the negativity of the MSM's coverage of Iraq, and to a lesser degree, Afghanistan? In fact, no where in the story does Christenson imply that what the Pentagon reports is false, he just calls it propaganda. And to top it all off, Christenson writes that critics say:
The Bush administration, they say, has established a pattern of attempting to mislead the public with self-promotional material that imitates news stories.

Again, he is talking about events that have nothing to do with the Pentagon's DVIDS program, but past instances where columnists were paid to promote the Administration agenda on Medicare and the No Child Left Behind act.

Perhaps Mr. Christenson should have reviewed the definition of propaganda before he wrote his story. If he had he would have seen that what the SAEN reports on a daily basis about Iraq is in fact propaganda. Here is the first definition of propaganda from dictionary.com:
1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

The editors of the SAEN do not support the Bush administration or the war in Iraq and therefore report only negative stories from Iraq. This clearly fits into the definition above of "the systematic propagation of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause." The SAEN wants you to believe that only the Pentagon is guilty of spreading propaganda when in fact the SAEN is just as guilty. The crime here is that the SAEN does it under the ruse of being an independent news organization.

Update 3/14/05: Funny that Christenson didn't mention the Clinton Administration's use of this same tactic:
The practice, which also occurred in the Clinton administration, is continuing despite President Bush's recent call for a clearer demarcation between journalism and government publicity efforts.

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